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Ota Benga : the pygmy in the zoo

Author: Phillips Verner Bradford; Harvey Blume
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1992.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Less than a century ago, a human being was put on display in the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Ota Benga, an African, came to be the symbol of an era awestruck by anthropology and Social Darwinism. Ota Benga: The Pygmy in the Zoo is the story of the Congolese pygmy Ota Benga, spirited away from "captors" in Africa to be put on display at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, and later, in the Bronx Zoo. Ota's odyssey  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Ota Benga; Ota Benga; Ota Benga
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Phillips Verner Bradford; Harvey Blume
ISBN: 0312082762 9780312082765
OCLC Number: 123313258
Description: 281 pages
Responsibility: Phillips Verner Bradford and Harvey Blume.

Abstract:

Less than a century ago, a human being was put on display in the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Ota Benga, an African, came to be the symbol of an era awestruck by anthropology and Social Darwinism. Ota Benga: The Pygmy in the Zoo is the story of the Congolese pygmy Ota Benga, spirited away from "captors" in Africa to be put on display at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, and later, in the Bronx Zoo. Ota's odyssey stretched from the Belgian Congo far beyond the Bronx, to a Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, to an orphans' home in Brooklyn, and finally, to a seminary in Virginia. His journey began in 1903, when an eccentric and ambitious missionary with scientific intentions, Samuel Phillips Verner, arrived in the Congo on a "specimen-gathering mission" for the World's Fair committee. He introduced Ota Benga to the States to be ogled and prodded, examined and questioned - an object for gawking tourists and budding scientists. Ota's journey ended when he sought refuge under the tutelage of the poet Anne Spencer; he committed suicide before he could return to Africa one final time. The early part of the American twentieth century fulfilled its share of demagogues and party bosses, quacks and rogues, yellow journalists and dishonest preachers, and lies not so far from our own on the calendar. This is the first time Ota's story has been told.

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